Horizon - Chapter 3 - Horizon and The Demon
Beyond Queen Coralynne’s palace, the land of Shimmeria was a vast patchwork of rural towns, villages and farms connected by long, winding cobbled roads and Horizon was thankful that the Queen had given him the horse Volvan which would make travelling much quicker than by foot.
Before long, Horizon came to a small village which, he was told, was called Numok and, using the gold coins which the queen had given him, he rented a room in a small Traveler's tavern; the only one in the village.
Its beds were not anything near as comfortable as those in the palace but he was grateful for the travelers he would meet and the stories they would tell him of their journeys abroad.
And one traveler, more than any, interested Horizon; though he said very little. A dark, cowelled figure who sat in a corner of the tavern and who did nothing but empty jug after jug of strong beer and stare blankly into the leaping flames of the open hearth.
When Horizon took a seat opposite him, blocking his view of the fire, the cowelled figure was not happy.
“I do not know if you are friend or foe”, said the man, gruffly, “although, looking into your heart, as I have the power to do, I see no shadows upon it but be warned”,he said as he produced a small knife from a side pocket, “I am a marked man; a cursed man and I bring nothing but ill fortune to those that cross my path”.
Horizon was intrigued by this, “What is it that you are marked with? Do you really bring bad luck to people?”.
“No”, said the man, softened slightly by the charm of Horizon’s boyishness, “But you might say that bad luck follows me wherever I go”.
The cowelled man, whose name was Levil, then explained that he had been the servant of an evil power for many years; a demon who he now sought, like a runaway slave, to escape from but that the demon always followed him wherever
he went and brought death and disaster with it.
“Because I know too much”, said Levil, “about the dark forces that really rule this world, my old master will not let me go. He will keep hunting me until he
Horizon was much surprised to hear that dark forces or demons ruled the world he knew because, as he told Levil, he had only ever known about the great soul of Nature which all Gnomes and Giants worshipped.
Levil laughed, “If only it were true. My innocent friend”.
And then Levil went onto explain many interesting things about the world and about demons.
“We are parts of Nature like the parts of a body and Demons are the disease that has
infected that body”, he said, “and evil is the symptom of that disease. Once Nature ruled supreme over itself but then the Demons came from outside nature, from another plane of existence and in doing so they made everything in Nature like them, mad or imbalanced, it is from this madness or imbalance that magic emerged”.
“Magic”, asked Horizon, further surprised, since he had always thought of magic as a tool rather than an imbalance.
“Certainly. Because Magic is a distortion or corruption of Natural law. It only exists in this world because Nature has been twisted or distorted by the arrival of the demons from outside nature”.
Levil said that he knew a great deal of magic; mostly evil, dark magic, learned not only from his old master the demon, but also in his youth as an apprentice Warlock and as a member of a dark coven.
Horizon then told him about his own land and about the war between Gnomes and Giants and was startled when Levil told him that the war was probably started by Demons.
“Honestly?”, said Horizon, “I would never have guessed!”.
“That's because you don't know Demons”, said Levil, “If there’s one thing that I have learned about them, it’s that they thrive upon situations of pain, grief, hate and destruction the way that bluebottles live off of long decaying flesh”.
Horizon was a little sickened by this analogy but still hopeful because if he knew the cause of the war in his homeland then there was hope of a solution.
“But, is there no way of destroying those demons”, asked Horizon, “with good magic? If such a thing exists”.
Levil poured out another drink, “Perhaps, but not for one such as me”, he said, “The only thing which poisons a demon is love and hope, all those things which are the opposite of hate, evil and fear but I have lost all those things. All that I can produce now is sadness and it is my sadness that the Demon smells; how it tracks me down”.
“Well”,said Horizon, still bouyed with confidence from having defeated a witch in the home of Queen Coralynne, “Can I not help? You know, I have some experience in these things, having defeated a witch who was impersonating the Queen of Shimmeria”.
“Oh”, said Levil, “So that was you. Well I never! I knew her personally as she was also a servant of my old master”.
“Horizon was further surprised to hear this but it only added to his confidence that he
might be able to destroy the demon who was haunting Levil and he again offered
“If I were a good man”, said Levil, “I would say ‘Out of the question’, but since I am more afraid for myself than anyone else and, since I see that your heart is strangely pure and full of all the hope and optimism of youth, I feel that, together, we may have
So levil told Horizon that the only way to kill a Demon was to poison it with positive
emmotions of love and hope and peace and that one had to let a demon enter you in
order to do this.
So Horizon and Levil waited through the night and the next night for Levils demon to appear and, on the third night, there was a terrible storm all around the tavern with wind howling and thunder crackling and it was so severe that no one from the tavern dared go outside and Levil and Horizon sat in their usual places at a corner table anticipating that, at any moment, the Demon would enter. Levil was slightly shaking but Horizon looked forward to the challenge.
Suddenly, the door of the tavern, though it had been bolted and barred against the storm burst open and a strong gust of wind blew in.
The moment this happened, Horizon hurriedly threw his arms around Levil, becoming like a shield and the Demon was forced to enter Horizon.
When Horizon felt the demon inside him it was as if all the possible mental and physical hurt and pain which the world could inflict had been balled up and placed within him, like having a miniature ravaging hurricane inside. Horizon fell to the floor and, to his dismay, he saw Levil quickly get up and leave the tavern.
“I am sorry”, said Levil, “I wish you the best but I did express earlier that I was a coward and not a good man” and, with that parting remark, Levil abandoned him,getting onto a horse and riding away.
What was Horizon to do? Inside him, he could feel the demon and hear its voice like thunder.
Luckily, Horizon’s guiding arrow of fate had not abandoned him and it led him out of the tavern and into the courtyard where it pointed to a tree and, taking its meaning, Horizon held on tight to the tree and prayed.
As soon as he did so he felt a connection with the great soul of nature whom his people worshiped and the sturdy tree became like a backbone to his heart and, clinging to it helped his mind cling to all those things which he loved and cherished; his mother and father and his memories of goodness and love and beauty that still existed in the world.
As he did so, Horizon felt a separate entity come into him, not the Demon and not himself but the soul of nature itself, buoying him up and giving him strength and wisdom.
The demon,however, did not die but instead roared off at great speed, vowing that it would have revenge upon Horizon.
That night, as Horizon slept in his bed in the Tavern, he had a srange dream. He dreamt that he was in a forest but not a dark one and that in front of him was a Stag.
“Where am I now”, asked Horizon of the stag.
“You are in the womb of nature- so do not be afraid”,said the Stag, “But I want to tell you something-that you are a hero-selected by destiny and hero’s are important to me Because they inspire and give hope- each of their heroic actions like a stone in the water sending silver ripples through the gloom and touching thousands- you will have many victories but these victories in themselves are nothing except that they unite and lift the spirits of the people and through the people will come the defeat of evil”.
“What about my parents and my people- the Gnomes and Giants- will their war come to an end?”,asked Horizon.
“All wars are a misdirection”, said the stag, “They turn people against themselves rather than against their common enemy which is evil- when they see their common enemy then the unjust wars will end and the just and ultimate war- the war against evil-shall truly begin”.
When Horizon awoke he found that something had been placed around his neck: a pair of eye-glasses on a chain and with them was a note signed by Levil which read.
“The thing which you did was brave. The thing which I did was cowardly. In an attempt to make it up to you I leave you this pair of soul glasses. They allow one to see the world as it really is- showing us the real good and evil in things”.
Horizon put the glasses on and went out and was immediately shocked by what he saw. He saw a world clouded with darkness of evil like a fog.
Looking on the back of the note left by Levil, Horizon read:
“Do not feel despair at the dark world you see but make it bright. Be a hero”.
It was then that Horizon knew that he must be a hero.